Gen Z’s reaction to photos of the original Millennium Dome will horrify you

If you were born after 1996, chances are your primary experience with the O2 Arena involves snagging concert tickets or braving the crowds to grab a cheeky Nando’s before a show. But the O2 hasn’t always been this way – and in recent days, archival photos of the venue have been unearthed from its inaugural year. This alternative reality has Gen Z’s collective head spinning.

We’re talking about the venue’s original incarnation as the Millennium Dome – a wildly ambitious exhibition meant to celebrate the turn of the century by taking visitors through 14 crazy ‘zones’ dedicated to lofty concepts like work, play, rest and… the ‘Mind Zone’? 

The £1.2 billion tenet-like structure opened in 2000 with immense hype, only for the expensive party to quickly become one of Britain’s most significant cultural cringe moments. Now, two decades later, newly resurfaced images of the surreal interiors are zapping the zoomer psyche. 

‘I just learned what used to be inside the O2 Arena, and I have so many questions,’ @zoomerbaffled tweeted with seriously cursed footage of the Body Zone’s human anatomy exhibits.

The Rest Zone’s odd narrated sunset experience could have been better in their eyes. ‘Bro, what am I even looking at here?’ @zenchlurl asked alongside a truly unhinged video clip.

Even brand Twitter got in on the Millennium Dome mockery, with Burger King’s UK account sharing an old ad about the ‘Cheeseburger Zone’ with the caption: ‘You lot would’ve hated this place.’

While cringe-pilled youngsters recoiled at the turn of the millennium fever dream, some older millennial voices tried providing context. ‘I went as a kid and honestly thought it was so cool at the time,’ @bestof90s replied wistfully to the slander.

Indeed, though the Dome hugely underperformed financially and closed after just a year, it did lure over six million visitors with its clunky tech integrations and pseudoscience musings. Looking back now, though, there’s something almost quaint in the Dome’s earnest yet chaotic unravelling.

For zoomers raised in our era of ultra-slick experiential exhibitions and immersive art installs, the whole thing radiates considerable ‘The Zoomers Will Never Understand’ energy. 

Perhaps it’s best to let this one swirly vortex of past cringe stay sealed – until it inevitably gets an ironic reboot in a few years. Hey Elon, heard of the ‘Mind Zone’?

Did you see that London is officially getting this massive, futuristic new neighbourhood on the Thames?

Plus: the real-life Clockwork Orange estate in southeast London could be knocked down.

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